Need a break from allergy season? Why not take a vacation? Head for lower-pollen destinations during the worst parts of the season for relaxation…and relief. Plan your getaway.
Consult a map
Thinking of heading south to thaw out after a harsh northern winter? Be careful — you may be traveling right into an allergy attack! In the Southern United States, Mexico and the Caribbean, tree pollen is typically worse from January to June, grass pollen from April to September, and ragweed from July to November. Heading north? Tree pollen’s worse from March to June, grass pollen from May to August and ragweed from August to October. Learn more about how the allergy seasons vary by region.
Imagine fun without sun
Pollen counts can fluctuate dramatically from day to day even in the same location because of changing weather. While a wet and chilly climate may not sound like vacation fun, pollen counts can be consistently low there. For example, Seattle is often overcast, but virtually free of ragweed pollen year-round — and there is so much to do!
Watch the wind
Windy weather can pull in pollen from hundreds of miles away, so try to travel where there isn’t much of a breeze. The exception to this rule is an ocean setting, where the breezes coming in from offshore are pollen-free.
Time your outings
Pollen counts ebb and flow throughout the day. Generally, levels are at their highest in the morning and lowest in the evening. Sleeping in a little later might mean fewer sneezes once you’re out and about.
Three of the most popular vacation destinations are also great allergy getaways:
Ocean breezes have low levels of pollen and the high humidity further decreases the amount of pollen in the air.
Mountain locations also have fewer allergens in the air, partly because freezing outdoor temperatures are too cold for molds to grow and for plants to make pollen. And there’s a bonus for people who also suffer from indoor allergies — dust mites can’t live at elevations higher than 2,500 feet. Just make sure you don’t visit the mountains when the local trees are pollinating.
Spending much of the time far from land and the airborne allergens can be a welcome relief for many seasonal allergy sufferers. Be sure to take into account the local pollen levels of the ports you’re scheduled to stop at along the way.
Allergy friendly hotels
Some hotels now offer “allergy-proof” rooms. However, there’s no regulated standard when it comes to this category, so when you book your accommodations, ask how the hotel defines “allergy-proof.” Even if these special rooms aren’t available where you’re headed, you can still limit the number of allergens you’ll be exposed to during your stay:
- Ask if the hotel accepts pets, even you’re not allergic to the animals themselves, pollen and other seasonal allergens can hitch a ride into your hotel room on the hair and fur on dogs and cats. If you can’t find a pet-free hotel, request a pet-free room.
- Book a non-smoking room.
- Ask for a room on a different floor from the indoor pool, to reduce your exposure to mold.
- Consider bringing your own allergy-proof pillow and mattress covers.
- Keep the windows closed; use the air conditioner if necessary.
- If you have a choice, get a room with wood, tile or vinyl floors rather than carpeting or rugs.
- Don’t be afraid to request a room change if the hotel room fails to meet your expectations, such as a non-smoking room that smells of cigarette smoke.